Friday 1 June 2012

An International Standard Configuration for Teaching Computers

A constant problem for me is the length of time taken for machines at the front of teaching rooms to boot up.  At every institution that I’ve taught at boot times of more than 60 seconds are common – even longer if the kit is a little older or connections a little slower.  During such boot times I tend to mutter “Unsuitable for the purpose …” (hinting at the UK’s Sale of Goods Act 1979). 

I think what irritates me most is when I compare what we have now to what we had 20 or 30 years ago – what is the boot time of an OHP?  OK, that’s a little unfair as the PC has massive affordances over such primitive technologies, but you get my point?

So, let’s be positive and consider the following suggestions aimed at making significant time savings yet have no capital cost implications:

  1. No login; not to the machine or the network.
  2. Have the standard Office applications, Whiteboard software and Anti-virus software installed.
  3. If a member of staff needs access to the Internet, on launching a browser they need to authenticate themselves via a web interface.
  4. If someone wants to get a PowerPoint up quickly, put it on a memory stick - or use a service like SlideShare - though I'd prefer to see them download it from a VLE or similar.
  5. NOT to have any passwords on the screen savers.
  6. Screen savers set to one hour.
  7. Machines set to hibernate after 70 minutes of inactivity.

I’d be delighted if anyone wants to edit this list – perhaps someone could put it on a wiki and point us there from the comments?  Can I suggest a title: “An International Standard Configuration for Teaching Computers” – now, we might be onto something …

Kindest regards to all


1 comment:

Unknown said...


my vision of the future involves everyone using personal tablets, say in 5 years or more.

They can simply plug it into a HDMI output to the projector/whiteboard...

How long does a tablet/iPad take to start up - How long does it take to obtain an IP via WiFi - How long does a powerpoint take to load?

I think solid state machines are the way forward!